MeitY's 1000 Day Plan for $1 trillion Digital Economy

Vishal Pratap Singh | Tuesday, 28 September 2021, 15:39 IST

Recently, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has chalked out a 1000 day agenda, aiming to make India a $1 trillion digital economy over the next few years. This comes amid a change of guard, with Ashwini Vaishnaw taking over as Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology, along with Rajeev Chandrasekhar as minister of state. The main motive behind this initiative will be to make India the largest connected nation in the world, bringing coherence into digital governance, simplifying rules and legislations for technology and social media companies, and focusing on building India’s high-tech prowess.         

India is amongst the top two countries globally, just behind China on many dimensions of digital adoption. With 560 million internet subscriptions in 2018, up from 238.71 million in 2013, India is the second largest internet subscriptions market in the world. India is in a sharply accelerating lift-off phase of its digital journey. “Since, the country has built a strong foundation of digital infrastructure and expanded internet access through some 560 million subscriptions, it is poised for the next phase of growth,” says Ashwini Vaishnaw.                        

Digitally Enabled Logistics

The government is focusing on facilitating end-to-end supply chains, e-enabled trade, e-commerce to reach all Indian consumers and producers, link small retailers to digital value chains which include e-commerce logistics and smart point of sale machines in retail stores. These initiatives have shown gains up to 20 percent and the government is planning to scale these initiatives to generate additional economic value of $5 billion to $10 billion in the coming 1000 days.

Experts believe that by fostering an integrated digital logistics platform to optimise modal mix of freight coupled with e-tolling, dynamic routing, and predictive maintenance of fleets will be added benefit for the sector.

Providing Support to Digital Innovators

The government has always been a major buyer of services in digital sector. So, this time it has planned to provide transparent mechanisms which facilitates system for Indian innovators to propose new ideas, processes, services and to build products to solve needs of the nation. Therefore, it can be said that the government is trying to be a market maker to create scale for the country’s best innovations and technology applications.

E-Hospitals Services for Patients

The government is seriously considering about the need of E-Hospital services after the surge of Coronavirus in the country. Since, it is not possible for doctors to admit every patient in the hospital, so patients with mild symptoms can get treatment from home through this service. E-Hospital and online registration services ensure that patients can get easy access to doctors. Earlier this year, during the second wave of pandemic, this service has been implemented in 318 hospitals across the country and 5.6 crore E-Hospital transactions took place in all states within that period.   

Digital Literacy for the Rural People

With the aim to make at least one person digitally literate in every household, two schemes were launched by the government in past namely National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) and Digital Saksharta Abhiyan (DISHA). Under this scheme, a total of 53.7 lakhs people were trained and certified in Digital Literacy in the country. In line with these schemes, government has launched a new scheme namely PradhanMantriGramin Digital SakshartaAbhiyan (PMGDISHA). The aim of this scheme is to cover majority of rural population and train them, so that they can adapt the digital payment system and avail all the digital services like the urban population of the country.

Pushing the Lower-Income States towards Digitisation

The lower-income states are lagging behind in adapting digitisation and the top reason behind this is the lower internet penetration in these areas. This indicates that the degree of digitisation within the country is uneven as some states have moved ahead faster than others. The government is planning to increase the internet connectivity in these areas. In India, the rise in smartphone penetration will be aided by shifting income distribution towards lower-income states which will be followed by digitisation.

Unshackling Innovation Centres

The government is also going to unshackle the centres of higher education and innovation, to create a competitive advantage through a well-equipped workforce. Through this strategic move, the government is targeting to come up as a market maker between the vendors and create scale for best innovations. This can be made possible through a tendering system which can place greater value on digitally enabled vendors.

The Future Ahead

MeitY has advised its officials to set up sector specific consultative forums, beginning with technology infrastructure, healthcare, education and skill training, and transportation and logistics while launching this plan. This vision of government lays down a template for Make in India initiative and offers end to end digital supply chains, digital platforms, and installation of GPS systems for efficient transportation system within the country. India being the thriving digital economy needs a creative balance between the rules and regulations, compliance, and innovation. If handled properly, the country could emerge as the digital factory of the world in the coming years.

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